100,000 home improvement projects left with dangerous gas work
100,000 home improvement projects, such as new kitchens and extensions, left homeowners with illegal and dangerous gas work of which they had no knowledge until it was too late, according to annual figures released by Gas Safe Register’s investigations team.
Of these projects 1 in 7 were found to be ‘Immediately Dangerous’ and required the gas appliances to be disconnected straight away to avoid a gas leak, explosion, fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. In all cases home owners had left their project to a builder, contractor or project manager to handle who in turn subcontracted to dangerous and illegal gas fitters.
A new report into home improvement work, also released, found that the majority of Britons leave the supervision of home renovations to a building firm rather than manage it themselves. When hiring these building firms, people expect them to verify all necessary checks on the tradesman they subcontract to. Worryingly 85% of people who had gas work carried out in their home had no idea whether the job had been done by a safe and legal Gas Safe registered engineer.
With 100,000 home improvement jobs ending up with illegal gas work in the last year, Gas Safe Register is warning home owners to check the credentials of every tradesperson working on their project.
Handing over a home improvement project, like a loft conversion or kitchen renovation to one builder or project manager may be an efficient route, but homeowners still need to keep a handle on who is working on the job,warns Phill Brewster, national investigations manager from Gas Safe Register.
“As this study has revealed, homes are under threat from shoddy workmanship as a result of rogue traders. We were alarmed to find so many illegal gas jobs were the result of subcontracted home improvement projects, where the homeowner had simply trusted the project manager to check the credentials of the fitter”
Phill continues: “The study also found that Britons most popular home improvement job is having a new kitchen fitted. But home improvers fitting new kitchens should be cautious. Our investigations team are often called out to inspect new kitchens where dangerous gas work has been carried out, and more often than not we find gas escapes and carbon monoxide leaking from hobs and cookers. This happens when builders and kitchen fitters try fitting the gas appliances themselves, or subcontract to illegal gas fitters.”
Gas Safe Register’s advice is simple, if you’re having any home improvement work done find out in advance if it will involve gas work. Even common home improvements jobs such as loft conversions and conservatories can involve gas which you may not realise. When it comes to gas you don’t want to get it wrong. If you do, the consequences could be fatal. If you want to keep your family and home safe always check the gas engineer is qualified and registered.
Planning on home improvement work? Follow Gas Safe Register’s top tips:
- No matter how big or small the home improvement job, find out if it will involve gas work and only use a Gas Safe registered engineer.
- If you’re using a builder or project manager to employ the gas fitter, check their credentials to make sure they are Gas Safe registered and can work safely on gas.
- If you’ve recently had home improvement work done which involved gas and you’re not sure if a registered engineer did the work, nominate your property for a free safety check.
- If you suspect an illegal gas fitter report it to Gas Safe Register immediately.
For more advice on avoiding illegal gas fitters visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk or speak to Samsian Ltd.
Source Gas Safe Register May 2011